Major League Baseball Wrap-up: Houston Strong motivates Astros to first championship

The 2017 Major League Baseball season has come to a close.

The Seattle Mariners, still holding on to the longest playoff drought in baseball, failed to make the postseason yet again, finishing up the season with a 78-84 record. The tough schedule and mounting injuries did not help the promising Mariners team, with the American League wild card race being one of the closest in recent history.

Another factor in the Mariner’s woes was their opponents, the Houston Astros. From 2011 to 2013, the Astros lost 324 games. Their rise to championship baseball would end up boasting the second best record in the majors this season with an unbelievable 101-61 record. The Astros went through the divisional round and the championship series with a 7-4 record before meeting the historic Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.

This year’s World Series was important and memorable for a few reasons. First off, it was the second time the Astros had made it to the Series. The first time the Astros were in the World Series, they were swept by the Chicago White Sox. The Dodgers had not been in the World Series since 1988. This was also the first time that two teams that won over 100 games met in the Series since 1970.

This year’s fall classic was full of star power as well. Many of the best players in the game were part of these two teams. The Dodgers rookie standout, Cody Bellinger, hit 39 home runs, while Yasiel Puig added consistent hitting power for the Dodgers. Strong pitching by Clayton Kershaw led him to National League best records in wins, winning percentage and earned run average.

Houston boasted the probable AL Most Valuable Player, Jose Altuve. Altuve had a monster season, leading the American League in batting average and was second in runs and stolen bases. The Astros also acquired pitcher Justin Verlander after the all-star break and he ended up being an integral part of their lineup, winning four of his five postseason games.

After the devastating effects caused by Hurricane Harvey in late August, the Houston Astros were forced to move home games to Tropicana Field. The team raised money for local relief efforts and took off-days following the storm in order to help deliver supplies and food to displaced citizens of the city. Following the storm, the Astros modified their uniforms to include a “Houston Strong” patch, to show solidarity for their home city.

The World Series was one for the ages. A seven game series which added to a record 104 postseason home runs concluded on November 1 with a 5-1 Astros victory.

A solid game one led into a wild four hour game two. Both teams combined for eight home runs in the game, six of them coming in the final three innings. Game three was the Astros first ever World Series win at home in a decisive 5-3 victory. The Dodgers ace starting pitcher Yu Darvish threw one of the worst playoff games in history, lasting less than two innings and allowing three runs.

Game four started off as a pitchers duel, before the Astros found the Dodgers weakness with a solo home run in the fifth inning. That would be the only hit for the Astros until the ninth inning. From there, it was all the Dodgers including a five run ninth inning that was capped off by a three-run homer by Joc Pederson.

Game five would become the second longest game in World Series history, with a game time of five hours and 17 minutes.  According to statistics obtained by the Associated Press, each team had 14 hits, eight for extra bases, and both teams used seven pitchers during the 10 inning game.  

Game six was a back and forth affair but the Dodgers were able to pull through with a 3-1 victory which forced the second seven-game World Series in three years.

Game seven was dominated by the Astros. Yet again, Darvish was unable to go through two innings, allowing five earned runs through one and two-thirds innings. Neither team’s starting pitchers went longer than four innings, with the Astros pulling their starter in the fourth after multiple base runners, as well as hitting three Dodgers with pitches.  

The Astros’ George Springer, who was rewarded personally as World Series MVP, hit five home runs in the Series, tying the all time record by a single player.

Kershaw pitched four relief innings for the Dodgers, allowing two hits and zero runs. But the Dodgers offense failed the team as they would leave 10 runners stranded on bases.

In the end, the Astros’ total package was enough to bring down the baseball powerhouse of Los Angeles and brought home a much needed championship to a town rebuilding from disaster. It ended up being an exciting playoff season full of underdog victories and now baseball fans are counting down the weeks to spring training 2018 in order to start another season.

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost

James McCraw

Major League Baseball Wrap-up: Houston Strong motivates Astros to first championship

by James McCraw time to read: 3 min